Minister secures funds for rail connection to the Western Sydney Airport

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AUSTRALIA: The Australian Government has committed $115 million to fund planning and preparation work for the Western Sydney Airport project in the 2016 Budget.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the proposed Western Sydney Airport would be a catalyst for economic growth and investment in Western Sydney for decades to come, providing a long term source of local jobs.

“Western Sydney is Australia's third largest economy and would be our fourth largest city in its own right, but too many of its residents have to travel outside the region for work,” Mr Chester said.

“Work towards an airport commencing operations in the mid-2020s is underway, with buildings being cleared and minor roads within the site closing.

“To ensure a rail connection can be established to the airport site when the time is right, we have allocated $26 million in 2016–17 for developing the design for rail access.

“The design will establish an exact route and locations of stations within the airport site, so that the land to meet rail requirements is properly preserved, including for tunnels and station boxes.”

Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher said the remaining $89 million in the Budget had been allocated over two years to undertake critical preparatory activities for the airport site.

“This funding will allow for a number of activities to prepare the site, including managing the site security, possibly fencing around the 1,700 hectare site and continuing to plan for the relocation of the TransGrid power line,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The Turnbull Government is working through the steps required for a Western Sydney Airport—so that residents of Western Sydney have improved travel options, so that there is additional aviation capacity for Sydney and so that this transformational infrastructure project can generate jobs and prosperity for Western Sydney.

“It took the Coalition to make a decision to select the Western Sydney Airport site, after six years of inaction by the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government.

“We expect that around five years after a Western Sydney Airport opens for business it would cater for around 10 million passengers a year and provide nearly 9,000 direct jobs, with over 60,000 direct jobs by the early 2060s.

“The Western Sydney Airport Environmental Impact Statement and Airport Plan are expected to be finalised in the near future, following the review of nearly 5,000 public submissions.

“We are also committed to having the best available noise mitigation arrangements, and a detailed noise management plan would be developed before operations commence.”

The owners of Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport have the right of first refusal over the opportunity to develop and operate a Western Sydney Airport. A formal offer for the airport development opportunity could be made in the coming months.